Pardon Application Time Frames Reconsidered

I have been getting complaints about pardon application time frames recently. I have to be honest. Some are from my own clients.  But a lot are from clients of other companies. The problem right now is that, as a result of the Conservative crime policies, pardon applications are backed up quite severely.

The two main challenges to processing a pardon quickly at the moment are the RCMP and the Parole Board. Courts and local police requests are about as inefficient as they ever were.

So here is my honest estimate of how long a pardon should take. This assumes that you are currently eligible for a pardon.

Our expedited service is currently taking between 8 – 12 months. In all truth 8 is not impossible but I would certainly not tell you to make plans based on it. And 12 months is not the maximum. You never know in the business when you will hit a snag with a local police station or a court house. But most of our expedited files are falling within those times frames.

Most of the pardon processing companies have some version of an expedited service. Some call it an express pardon. Some call it an accelerated pardon. You get the idea.

Expedited service in this business means we do it as fast as we possibly can. There are zero delays as far as in house processing and procedures are concerned. If you send us your fingerprints they get sent to the RCMP that very say day. When the prints come back your record is analyzed that day, etc. I want to make this point clear because some companies will claim they are able to “leverage” these agencies due to their extensive experience. This is a patent lie and any company selling you a service in this way should be avoided.

On the other hand our standard service is normally suggested for clients who are not currently eligible for a pardon. In these cases it normally depends on the client’s eligibility date. So if you start your pardon two years early your file will be prepared and ready to go the day you are eligible. In other words it will take two years plus whatever amount of time the Parole Board takes to review your file. You will save some money by being proactive.

If you are currently eligible and choose the standard service we will simply take an additional 6 months on top of the expedited time frames to process the paperwork. If you can give us a little leeway on the time, you will save some money. That’s how the expedited service works. We never claim to have any control whatsoever over the various government agencies involved in these procedures. Anyone who does is committing fraud.

The final thing to mention is that it is very possible pardons will soon become record suspensions. For the most part this is a symbolic name change but it is essentially what’s causing the current delays in processing a pardon application.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch. I can be reached by email.

Comment (0)
Chris / September 26, 2011

Hi Michael,

I love your updates! keep it coming. Quick questions, when is the projected date this crime bill will pass? On television, the news said it should take effect Spring 2012? Is this true?

Secondly, I am waiting for my police check from Toronto. They are backed up because it was submitted on May 10, 2011. I should be getting anytime soon and then it will be submitted to the board. As long as the board has it, I will be grandfathered under the current pardon rules? Is this correct?

Michael Ashby / September 26, 2011

Hi Chris,
You know how the government works. It’s hurry up and wait. They opposition is doing everything possible to make sure this lunacy doesn’t go through which may include a court challenge from some NGO parties, who knows. If it goes the way the Conservatives would like I would say that spring is a safe bet. For your second question your file has to be submitted to the Parole Board before the changes take place. If so then you are grandfathered in under the old rules.

Roger Moffatt / October 14, 2011

Hi Michael,
I don’t know if I can mention it but I’ve been dealing with Express Pardons since last Nov. 2010. I’m approaching the anniversary, As we speak my file has not reached the parole board and my criminal record has not been handed over to Express Pardons for application. I’m told by the r.c.m.p. that they received the request from Express last March 2011, I sent everything in a timely fashion to Express yet I wonder about the march date that the police received the request? I was also told that I would have been better doing this on my own, what do you think about that, right now it’s too late for me to make the deadline for increase and the more difficult timeline for pardon, I was told by Express that the increase would be my responsibility, is that so?


Michael Ashby / October 17, 2011

Hi Roger,

You find yourself stuck in a common situation right now. The pardon system is completely backed up due to the crime agenda being pushed by our government. So I cannot say for sure that Express Pardons is doing anything wrong. However, that company does claim to offer the “fastest pardon possible” which is loaded language to say the least. If you were offered clear time frames for a pardon (our expedited service at the moment is 10 – 12 months but even that we can’t guarantee) then I don’t see that anything has been done wrong. I cant ell you though that if you sent your fingerprints to EP in November and they were not submitted to the Parole Board until March, that is a serious problem that would not be acceptable in my office.

As for doing a file on your own I don’t think that is the best way to go. As professionals who do nothing but prepare these applications even we are having a tough time staying ahead of the changes being put in place at the parole board. So i doubt that someone doing it on their own would have better luck.

The best thing you can do is maintain communication with the company. If something is amiss you will probably start to realize it and may choose to make a change.

I wish I could give you better advice but I just don’t have enough information.

Best luck,


Chris / October 26, 2011

HI Michael,

I finally received a phone call from Express Pardons and they just received my local police check. That had taken 6 months, so they are definitely back logged everywhere. Needless to say my application is finally being submitted to the board. They had told me it takes 3-4 weeks for the board to verify all the documents are complete and then they investigate. Express told it takes 3-4 months to get approved.

I feel a huge load lifted off my shoulders because I was worried about bill c-23b. I started the process in April 2010. It has taken them 18 mths to receive all the info.

Even if bill c-23b changes, my application will be grandfathered under the old pardon rules.

Today, I feel great knowing that my pardon will be coming soon…

Michael Ashby / October 26, 2011

Congratulations Chris. It would have been heartbreaking to just miss the deadline. When your pardon is granted please be sure to come back and let us know.

Best regards,

Mark / December 2, 2011

Hi Michael

I have been watching the news and reading the blogs regularly to try and figure out why things are taking so long for pardons. After reading this thread you might need to re-evaluate some of your time frames again.

My application was received by the pardon board on January 4th 2011….that means it is coming up to a full year AFTER all the paperwork was filed. In all it has been a few years of process and the wait continues.


Jason / January 28, 2012

Dear Michael;

I am also a client of Express Pardosns and used their “fast track” service. I started the process in June 2010. I waited about 12 months for my records from the RCMP. In August I had an update from them that my Pardon Application was submitted to the Parole Board and that they had acknowledged receipt. I called Express yesterday for an update and it was a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” kind of response. Should I be worried here?

Joe / February 29, 2012

I started my application process in Sept of 2010. The parole board received it in Nov 2011 and I was told 6- 10 month process times. Considering it took over a year to get the paperwork in order, I wonder if it will take at least 12 months before the parole board gets it done. Hard to find actual blogs of real people who have dealt with it, mostly companies trying to make money of people and their estimates.

Michael Ashby / February 29, 2012

It could easily take 12 months at the Parole Board. But it could also be returned to you fairly quickly. It’s basically impossible to say for sure. This is why we only quote average time frames and never provide an exact processing time frame.

dan / March 4, 2012

Hey people
How wrong is the fact we paid Express Pardons for the service and now we are asking Michael questions and updates?
In one word -it was a bad decision!
Express Pardons -provide no customer service after taking your money!
Michael keep up the good job-one day Express will follow their founder and mentor to Malta!

Michael Ashby / March 5, 2012

Hi Dah,

As far as I can tell the problem is that some of these companies hirre more sales people than the ones who actually do the pardons. It is pretty easy to see where the backlog comes from in cases like this. At any rate I hope your file gets done quickly. Unfortunately quickly doesn’t seem to have a lot of meaning in this business but you should always be able to get answers to your questions. Feel free to direct any you have my way. I’m more than happy to answer them.

Denise / March 18, 2012

Hey People,

I started my process back in November of 2010 and decided to handle it myself I got my cpic back from the RCMP in June of 2011. In between that time I moved from NS to Ontario, so I had to get my local check from Halifax by mail. The officer that handled it for my was really helpful and I got that back in the mail within a week. Thinking I had all my information I sent my application off it was frustrating because it got sent back to me twice first time was in September I forgot to check off that I was a Canadian and didn’t get the local check in Ontario done because I hadn’t been here over 3 months and the second time in October court information was missing. So I had to do everything by mail again getting my court information from NS, this took 5 months, by this time the fee increase was getting close. February 9 of 2012 I received a call from the court in Halifax saying that my information was ready and I had to pick it up. Luckily they allowed my son to pick it up for me. By this time my local check in Halifax had expired but God love the office that handled it the first time, he completed a new one at no cost to me. My local check in Ontario took 1 day. I got my application off on February 17, 2012 just before the fee increase and the new waiting period. On March 7, 2012 I received a letter from the National Parole Board confirming receipt of my application. I called to find out what the process was from here and they told me it could sit for 12-14 months before it is assigned to an officer, so i have to wait some more but at least I got it in.

Michael / March 19, 2012

Hi Denise,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad you managed to get it submitted espite the setbacks. Processing pardons is hardly ever a straight forward matter.

Jason / April 26, 2012

Good Afternoon Michael, I submitted my application with Pardons Canda in 2010. I still have not heard anything back and when I do contact them – they keep telling me my application is with the Parol Board.

I have been offered a job and they are willing to hire me if I can provide them with a date as to when I will receive my pardon. Is there anyway they can provide me with a date as to when I should receive it?

Thanks Jason

Michael / April 30, 2012

HI Jason,

Unofrtunately there is not way to be sure. The Parole Board is not providing any verifiable time frames for pardons.

Kind regards,

Kevin / June 6, 2012

Hi Michael,

I applied for a pardon in October 2010, using your expedited service. The Parole board has had my application since May 2011….as you can see, we are now approaching 17 months since the beginning of this process. As you stated in the article above, 12 months is possible, any idea why mine is taking so long?


Michael / June 6, 2012

Hi Kevin,

Unfortunately the Parole Board is now guaranteeing record suspension applications (same as a pardon just a new name) that were submitted under the new more expensive cost structure. This is to address the backlog of applications like your own. The problem is that while it is guaranteeing that the more expensive applications are being processed efficiently it has also stated that no time frames whatsoever can be provided if you paid the older fee. That this is unfair and unjust goes without saying. We are currently looking at a legal challenge but I don’t have my hopes up that it would fix the problem. You may want to read an older blog entry I wrote on this topic:

Anyway I wish I had better news. All I can say is that based on what we are currently seeing and conidering how long the application has been under review I would expect it to come back fairly soon. But it’s definitely not something I can promise right now.

Best regards,


Kevin / June 14, 2012

Thanks for the update Michael!

I have read some articles regarding wait times, that processing a pardon that ultimately is denied, can take up to two years. Since my pardon has been over 13 months now, could this be the case, even though my conviction was summary and non-sexual in nature and have no previous record or police contact since?

Michael / June 14, 2012

Hi Kevin,

The truth is that in the last couple of years it has been extremely difficult to predict any time frames at all. If you are only at the 13 month point I would say that you don’t have anything to worry about other than waiting for ti to finally be processed. If the paperwork was done correctly and you are eligible you will eventually be granted your pardon.

Kind regards,

Worried / June 14, 2012

I have also had my application at the board for 14 months at the end of this month. The board says it will take at least 14. I just want to know if any one knows or has heard of any pardons being processed for minor offenses. My career depends on this.

Keri / July 24, 2013

Hi there,

As per the Parole Board of Canada website minor convictions also referred to as summary convictions the Parole Board is currently working on applications submitted the month of June 2011.

just to be clear this does not mean all files submitted prior June 2011 have been granted, but we can honestly say several pardons have been received at our office these past few weeks.

best of luck


Monique / February 4, 2014

I finished paying Feb 5,2011 this is the date I received my letter. I was suppost to be done april 19th 2015. i just received a letter which was very upsetting jan 19th 2021 is my new date. over 2.8 grams of marijuana. ive been thru hell and back and it just seems to keep getting worse. My career has been cut short because of it and Ive been so positive and giving back to my community.

Michael Ashby / February 4, 2014

HI Monique,

I’m very sorry about your situation. You aren’t alone. It’s beyond ridiculous that anyone should have to wait 10 years to get on with their life, but it’s particularly upsetting for a victimless crime like possession of marijuana. I think we may have a stone aged government (no pun intended).

I wish there was something we could do but I can’t fight the law.



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